Sunday, September 04, 2005

3: Diary of the Displaced

Washington, DC: “Displaced” is the word that most often comes to mind, followed immediately by “we are incredibly lucky.” There is also the occasional “it could have been worse.”

We begin today’s journal with an announcement from one of my online businesses:

“Hurricane Katrina Floods Offices of RYIE.com

We are (were?) headquartered in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina came through. All our loved ones are safe, though scattered about. We may have lost a house and a car, but we are incredibly LUCKY!

New Orleans is a wonderful place and will be back better than ever. We will try to do our part by donating half the net proceeds of all sales of "Release Your Inner Entrepreneur," through the end of 2005, to the American Red Cross. Donations will be earmarked for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort in New Orleans.

So here's your chance to expand your mind while donating to a great cause…”

Making a living

This odyssey began about a week after I received my latest graduate degree and began my semi-retirement. My primary activity in the new structure is finding a way to make a living on the Internet. It’s harder than I expected.

The process is complicated by not having good old “Study” with me. That’s my home computer’s designation on our network. Study knows me well, fills in every form that comes up, and gets to all my favorite web sites with a couple of clicks.

On the other hand, my laptop “Katrina” is more than willing but is just getting to know me. Yes, I backed up my files before leaving home, but let’s say I didn’t do quite as thorough a job as I thought. Well, I was awakened at 5 a.m. and given one hour to get out of the place.

The “Sympathy” Phase

Since evacuating our home on August 27, we have rested our heads in Slidell (LA), Tuscaloosa, and now Washington (DC), where Susan is attending a professional meeting. As we circulate around Washington and among Susan’s colleagues at the convention, we are increasingly being treated “sympathetically.” It’s not a pitying version, but more constructive and supportive.

Yesterday at Macy’s we were picking up a few of the near-necessities of life, like makeup for Susan and long pants for me. When Susan’s saleslady, Raleigh, became aware of our plight, she was immediately involved and supportive. She rounded up a bag of makeup and fragrance samples to give us to tide us over.

My salesman, Abdul, was equally engaged and forthcoming. We e-mailed Macy’s to commend both for their service.

Susan’s colleagues seek her out to get the details of our ordeal, and several offered to help her find temporary employment if needed. These offers went beyond mere politesse; they were sincere. Her current employer, University of New Orleans, is establishing contact with its far-flung faculty but still without any firm timeline for getting back to “the new normal.”

From here

We leave this morning to fly to Birmingham to pick up our car. We have decided to then drive to Huntsville, AL to stay with Susan’s cousins, the Clemens. We then have a few days to kill until Loni’s wedding in Memphis, and then we have to figure out what our personal new normal will be.

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